Culture and religion

Up Plot structure Terraforming John vs. Frank Plot grids Core passages Culture and religion Alvin Toffler's plea

I Religion

by Johannes Meures

Hiriko´s areophany as a religion designed for Mars


p. 228-230

·         centre: nature and the body ( here: Mars); comparable with “religions” of native inhabitants of America

·         the basis of human life: (1) kami: the idea, that there is energy in every object (Pantheism), especially in extraordinary ones, which means power ; (2) veriditas: the greening fructiparous power

·         celebration: consciousness of nature/Mars (possible topic), eating dirt, being naked, chanting, contact and corporal communication; created by the farm team under  Hiroko´s leadership

·         community

found in religions on Earth, too


The Sufis´ religion as a religion designed for Earth


p. 310-316














p. 367-380


·         influenced by early Greek philosophy and modern science

·         Pantheism: desire to become one with God (=ultimate reality/Mars) is tried to reach by modern society and the vision of the heart

·         4 mystical journeys: (1) away from all phenomenal things, (2) abiding, (3) travelling in the real, through the real (one oneself is reality), (4) moving to the centre of the Universe and become one with all the others who acted like you did

·         society of gifts

·         possess nothing – be possessed by nothing

·         feelings are important

·         nafs (one’s evil self living in everyone’s chest)

·         community


on Mars, the religion is influenced by different circumstances and persons ( like John Boone (first 100))

later related to Mars

faith and science



·         faith refuses any compromise

·         faith does not need any proof



II Culture

part I by Robert Lauer


art & architecture (Arcady´s opinion, ´”Bogdanovism”)


p.59 ff 

ideas for design of shelters:

circular (dome); small but equal personal rooms; wide open communal spaces; working and living space combined

à equality of all inhabitants

à work is part of life: to make art, not profit

p. 163 ff /

art in Underhill and on Phobos:

p.338 ff           

buildings should be equipped with mirrors, mosaics, coloured bricks (green !)

original Martian ground structures should partly be restored functional rooms as galleries terracing in craters

à creativity (art) and Martian reality belong to their life


areoforming (John’s interpretation):


p.252 f                   

people are „areoformed“ by Mars´ aesthetic landscape:

knowledge and sense for beauty of their offspring will be based on their home: Mars

legends on Mars:


p.249 (a.o.)

Coyote: wanders around the planet without a walker, helps people

à mystic personification of full adaptation to Mars

p. 384 ff 

John Boone´s assassination:

mysterious meteor shower, darkness, winds, lightning

à John was very popular; stood for hope, a new society;

à connected with Mars (first man on Mars)

à people need a charismatic (and legendary) representative of the colonisation of Mars

Big Man & Paul Bunyan:

fight between two giants (Big Man wins): creation of Mars´ characteristic features

à a new Martian culture needs new myths (´gods´, creation etc.)

à parallel to fights between terrestrial powers and people on Mars ?



part II by Eva Prost


The Arabs - a group that apparently intended to keep a Terrestrial culture


p. 8-9

·         “a force to be reckoned”

·         “Arabic words were slipping quickly into English.”

·         “They were not going to change just because they were on Mars. ” [ó “He [John] wanted the slate as blank as possible.”]

·         “Their thinking clashed with Western thought” (patriarchies, no democracy, hierarchy, honour and freedom -  deference)

à gap between different nations, question of power/influence

p. 410-412

·         civil war: “When you have a strong conservative streak in your society [...] which detaches itself from the progressive streak, that’s when you get the worst kinds of civil war [...] Islam has avoided civil war by remaining a whole; we have a coherent culture [...].”

·         one language as a “powerful unifier of culture”

à a culture should be uniform

p. 410-412


p. 419-420

·         Beirut: destruction of a forum where alternative thinking Arabs could  articulate their ideas; the social progress was disturbed, “So here we begin the work again.”

·         “But there is much that is changing here, changing fast. So that is the next stage of Islamic way.”

·         history as the journey to utopia, the journey is the destination

à a change in culture/social progress must not / cannot be avoided

The Swiss gypsies - a group that reviews its culture under the different circumstances on Mars


p. 13, 259

·         (in general) impenetrable

·         “ability to be part of the world but to stand away from it at the same time. to use it, but hold it off; to be small but in control, to be armed to the teeth but never go to war;” [=> “wasn’t that one way of defining what he [John] wanted for Mars?”]

·         à

p 256-259

·         gypsies: “they planned to spend the rest of their lives travelling around building roads, so it didn’t much matter to them where they went next.”

·         “There isn’t such a thing as nature possible on Mars.”

·         “... it was life that mattered, not a flag or a creed or a set of words”

·         “having brought the life and left the baggage behind

à leaving a culture (its evil traits) behind concentrating on (the new) life itself

The disappeared people - a group that establishes a new culture under the given circumstances


p. 425





p. 499

·         “going native”

·         It’s all scheduled [..] And then here comes your bro Arkady, saying to us: “You’re Amurricans, boys, you got to be free, this Mars is the new frontier [..], making our own rules on our own world.” [...] we’re all software and maybe stuck here for good. [..] They’re ready to strike back. [..] And that’s the folks who are disappearing.”

·         prisoners escaped

·         leadership of Arkady, Hiroko, Schnelling

à freedom is needed for a stabile culture

à people identify with leaders

p. 346-347, 499

·         hidden habitats, invisible to satellites; independent power plants, caches of tools, (“Cro-Magnon cliff dweller life”) [<=> “You’re are needed everyday.”, John Boone to Hiroko]

·         connections, community

à establishment of an own culture if people cannot identify with the given one

p. 503

·         “Independence Day”

à common holidays characterising the culture are needed

p. 374

·         “Were any of you interested in having children twenty years ago? No.” [Hiroko to John Boone]

à a culture needs a future



III The festival of Olympus Mons


The festival at Olympus Mons


p. 366, 375


p. 372, 373

·         art (mosaic designs), “partying, talking, drinking, [...] dancing to music made by various amateur bands”, Mars song as common cultural asset

·         Sufis´ ceremony adapted as a kind of religion

·         “We need a form of a coherent political unit no matter what kind of disagreement we might have.”


à common culture seems to begin to establish meeting human needs/combining old and new elements

à lack of political body


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